Sister is doing it for herself?


There are probably just as many pre-assumptions made on Arab women in the West as there are prejudices on Western women in the Arab world. Arabs very much like to change western prejudice on Arab women.  I studied several text on this matter at uni in London and Egyptians are very keen to point out that women do have the same rights and are treated and respected in the same way as men. I think there is truth in saying that women in the Arab world are not that suppressed as we in the west sometimes think they are and we western lasses might not be as free and liberated as we think we are. I believe there are double standards when it comes to what men are allowed to do what women can do in both the West and the Arab world but the double standards in the Arab world, in this case Egypt, are  much more predominant than they are in the Lowlands or good old London. I am bringing this subject up because I realized yesterday that it can be quite uncomfortable to walk the Egyptian streets as a woman, especially alone and especially after dark (This time of year it already gets dark around 6 o’clock). It is not that I fear for my life or my belongings but I do feel like prey. Men feel free to bother you or shout at you when you’re just minding your own business and I don’t think  this only has to do with being foreign. In this country women seldom go about their business on their own. When I entered an upmarket cafe/ restaurant on my own to use their wi-fi connection, the lady who showed me my table was highly surprised and bemused that I was on my own. It is very normal for men to go to a coffee house or go about their business in general on their own. Do Egyptian women not venture on their own because it is not particularly pleasant and one is more prone to hassle? Or don’t these women go out on their own just because they don’t and when men do see a woman on their own, especially when she doesn’t seem Egyptian/ Arab, men think that it is okay to bother her and shout stuff at her. I find this attitude of many Egyptian men very unintelligent and unsophisticated. Egyptians in general are very friendly and very hospitable but the vast majority of men are a nuisance and very tiresome and as much as westerns may need to be educated on Arab society and the role of women in it, Arabs needs just as much education on Western society and its women. Living unmarried with a friend and going about my business on my own and having male friends does not make me a loose woman. It makes me realize what a great place I left- and will return to, insha allah, were the double standards might not have been erased completely but there the world is your oyster; you can do whatever you want at any hour of the day or night.


About Lemba

Non-conformist Writing Soul and Language Geek from the Lowlands with a South London accent, currently living a nomadic, location- independent lifestyle. While executing the Big Fat Writing Plan I’m invading cyberspace with my views on 'expat living', travel and other lifestyle choices, current affairs and other randomness. Welcome to the Dark Fairy Zone.

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